Chassis No: B 138 GA
Engine No : K 6 BW
Registration No: BLV 272
The ‘Derby Bentley’ is widely regarded as the most sophisticated car that money could buy in the 1930’s. The chassis was remarkable in that it offered the driver effortless sports car performance in almost absolute silence. This was achieved with a six cylinder engine with a synchromesh four-speed gearbox, with servo assisted braking and with a one shot lubrication system. If this was not enough the car also had the benefit of adjustable rear suspension and a chassis damper that doubled as a front bumper. The engine had a cross flow cylinder head with SU carburettors, a crankshaft damper and roller cam followers. Originally only available with a 3½ Litre engine the more powerful 4¼ Litre option became available in 1936. In their understated way Rolls-Royce had created one of greatest cars of the day, the “Silent Sports Car” and it is not surprising that so many notable figures, celebrities and racing drivers of the day owned them.
The first Vanden Plas Tourer on the new 4¼ Litre Chassis was ordered by the legendary racer and World Land Speed Record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell. This car B 138 GA is the sister car, built in the Vanden Plas factory at the same time, alongside the Campbell car and with the consecutive body number. Only these two cars share the very low windscreen with just over 5 inches height of windscreen glass. Campbell was a racer and knew that a low windscreen not only made the car faster, it looked faster too. Ultimately 12 chassis were fitted with this body style but none was identical.
It was delivered to its first owner, Dr. W.G. Jordan on 25th May 1936 and full ownership history from the chassis records and a letter from early long term owner, Peter Riley are on file.
In 1988 the car was bought in a partially dismantled state by Bentley enthusiast Michael Bradfield. The previous owner had been a Mr. Adrian Hicks who stated that he had bought the car from London dealer, Charles Howard. A restoration costing in excess of £ 140,000 followed. Seven years later, in 1995 the car was sold to a Mr. Bo Zarnegin of California, USA.
The car remained in the USA until 2003 when it was spotted in Charles Agipou’s Santa Monica dealership by George Howitt of Belgium. He was looking for just such a car and immediately flew to the USA to inspect the car and complete the purchase. The car then returned to the UK on 15th October 2003 and further restoration and rally preparation work was carried out by Wildae Restorations and Alpine Eagle Ltd.
Howitt used the car for numerous rallies and tours but maintained the car so meticulously that when he showed the car at the Pebble Beach Concours in 2009 he won 3rd in Class. In 2012 Howitt sold the car and it once again returned to the U.K.
Today it is offered for sale in remarkable condition. The car is mechanically very good and ready to take on the rigours of fast road or rally activity while at the same time being good enough to show on the concours circuit. The car is offered with all matching and correct numbers, original registration, original colour scheme and fitted with a modern over-drive.